Since the Be-Free Program started in 2002 it has grown by developing different projects for children, teens and parents, focusing on protection, personality building and leadership. The program is now seeing its new project: “Instilling Universal Knowledge” come to fruition.
Woman This Month (WTM): What is Be-Free all about?
Rana Al Sairafi (RS): Be-Free aims at empowering children and teens with concepts and skills to help protect them from abuse and neglect, and build their personalities.
Be-Free started off with two projects: “I Am a Strong, Smart and Safe Child” for children, and “Detecting Abusive Relationships” for teenagers. Be-Free created a special project for the protection of children and teens with disability from abuse, as they are more vulnerable: “I’m Strong, Smart, and Safe Despite My Disability”.
Then other projects follow. “It’s my right to understand my rights” was launched in partnership with UNICEF’s, “Smart+” which is about protecting children from the dangers of the Internet. “Colour Your Life with Your Choices” helps students from the age of 10 and above to face life challenges because it can have an impact on their academic achievement, and “Me and the Other” was developed with the support of the British Embassy, and is about respecting others who are different and learning from these differences.
WTM: As you build your centre with more programmes, what is the current focus?
RS: We have a parallel focus on all our projects, but we have just launched a new project earlier this year called “Instilling Universal Knowledge”. This project encompasses the main elements of all the Be-Free projects. We have already launched the Arabic version and the English version will be launched on 21st October.
WTM: Whom does the project target?
RS: Mainly schools and academic institutes. The project helps schools to make academic subjects more fun and related to the students’ lives. Students can learn different aspects of life from the academic subjects, and learn beyond dry information. The project turns the schools from a boring place, where children just memorise whatever the teacher says, to a place where students are eager to learn, and have a positive influence on the world. It helps students to know that they are important, and can add value to this world.
WTM: How will this be implemented in schools?
RS: We have made it very easy for teachers. It doesn’t require additional time at school or materials. The students find it interesting as it follows their way of learning. The project has nine main deliverables which educational institutes can download from www.befreepro.org and implement it immediately. Among the many projects, the deliverables also include a guide on celebrating international days in creative ways, a guide on measuring project impact, and a booklet for parents. This project is practised from kindergarten through to high school.
WTM: What kind of response have you had?
RS: Many schools implemented this project, and some were very creative which enhanced the educational process, and made it more fun, interactive, and left a lasting impact. One teacher told us that she linked math lessons with the concept of respecting others. The teacher was very excited to see that children were able to comprehend the lesson and the concept too. Another teacher told us that when she conducted a workshop the children asked for more the next day! It was very inspiring. We always like to evaluate and see where we can improve too.